June 6 ~  What You Can Do Quotable Wooden

"Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do." ~ John Wooden

John Wooden

John Robert Wooden (1910-2010), "The Wizard of Westwood," was born in Martinsville, Indiana and is considered one of the greatest coaches in college basketball history.

"Ability may take you to the top, but it takes character to keep you there," he once said. Many called him a master motivator and leader.

"Place the team above yourself always," he said. "I never permitted a player to criticize a teammate."

A three-year All-American player for Purdue University (1930-1932), Wooden was known as the "Indiana Rubber Man" for his suicidal dives on the court.

"Nothing will work unless you do," he believed.

After serving in the Navy during World War II, he became head coach for UCLA, staying with the Bruins for 26 years (1949-1975). With skill and passion, he built a dynasty of winners with such talented players as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Gail Goodrich, and Bill Walton.

"I tried to conduct myself in such a way that I wanted my players to act. I think our youngsters, whether they be basketball players or our children at home, need models more than they need critics," he explained.

With great care and attention to detail, Wooden even measured the feet of his players to perfectly fit shoes and avoid blistering. "Seemingly trivial matters build into something very big," he explained. "Namely, your team's success."

The successful coach led UCLA to a record 10 NCAA championships, seven straight from 1967-1973, and was named to the Hall of Fame as both a player and coach.

"You'll find that success and attention to details, the smallest details, usually go hand in hand," he said.

More John WOODEN Quotations

John WoodenConcentrate on what you can do... and DO IT!